Faculty & Staff

Study_Faculty_subnavAt the heart of this graduate program is our community

The Graduate M.Ed. program receives instruction from faculty at Western Washington University and North Cascades Institute, as well as our partners in the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and other agencies and organizations. Throughout the program, our students learn from and work alongside many of the Northwest's best educators, naturalists, business leaders, resource managers and conservation professionals.

Western Washington University Faculty
joshua_porter Joshua Porter
Graduate Program Director
Joshua brings 20 years of experience in environmental, conservation and wilderness education to the Institute’s M.Ed. program. He has coordinated, developed and taught field based programs ranging from Alaska to Patagonia, and Puget Sound to Cobscook Bay. Since earning a M.S. from the Lesley University, Joshua has been teaching undergraduate courses for the Wild Rockies Field Institute and more recently, as adjunct faculty in the Ecological Teaching and Learning M.S. program at Lesley University. The North Cascades became home for Joshua while attending the Evergreen State College and working as a Climbing Ranger in North Cascades National Park. He is happy to be back in this familiar landscape, engaged in a learning community so committed to illuminating connection to place.
TracieJohanson.jpg Tracie Johannessen
Education Director
Tracie is an educator who has worked in the field of environmental education and outreach in northwest Washington State for over 25 years. Tracie's background also includes working as a wildlife research technician in Arctic Alaska, as a high school biology teacher in Zimbabwe and as a middle school science teacher in Bellingham. She began her career at the Institute in 1991 as the first coordinator of Mountain School and went on to design and manage many other Institute programs and co-author several popular Institute curriculum guides. During a six-year hiatus from the Institute, Tracie expanded her experience in program design and assessment by starting her own consulting business, EE Outcomes, and serving for three years as Program Manager at the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Foundation. Returning to the Institute in 2014, Tracie now oversees organizational and program evaluation and assessment efforts and teaches curriculum and assessment in the graduate program. A fourth generation northwest Washingtonian, Tracie brings a deep appreciation and knowledge of northwest cultural heritage, ecosystems and issues to her work. She loves culture and music, travel, being a mom, and spending time outside.Learn more about Tracie's work at www.eeoutcomes.com.


Gene Myers, Ph.D.
Gene's Cascadia roots extend back four generations, and his early passion for northwest natural history continues with intensity. An environmental educator since 1978, his aim is to integrate a deep understanding of ecology with a profound grasp of human ethical development. A pioneer in Conservation Psychology, his research specialty concerns the bases of children's and adults' connection to nonhuman animals (and nature in its other aspects), and how educators may use this to foster the development of environmental responsibility and effective action. More information about Professor Gene Meyers can be found on his website.
Dave_Rossiter Dave Rossiter
Dave is a cultural-historical geographer with teaching and research interests centered on the intersection of aboriginal and environmental politics in both the Canadian province of British Columbia and the US Pacific Northwest. A faculty member at Huxley College since 2005, Dave teaches the seminar on "Language, Discourse and Environment" in the M.Ed. program. Beyond the classroom, Dave is a passionate skier and cyclist.
Nick-Stanger Nick Stanger
Nick is a Cascadian from across the Salish Sea, Victoria BC. Teaching in environmental education for more than 20 years, he explores the edges of the human-digital-nature conundrum we currently face in our westernized social fabric. Nick completed his Doctorate at the University of Victoria in 2014 and was a Social Sciences and Humanities Council Doctoral Fellow. The main focus of his research revolved around the learning that occurs within outdoor childhood places and their lasting effects on our lives. With his background in natural resources, tree-canopy research, Masters in environmental education and communications, and significant work in conservation, Indigenous education, and technical web-based learning systems, his PhD represented an interactive online video journey designed to combine his skills, expertise, and interests. Nick is the Chair of the board for the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada, an organization that seeks to connect organizations, families, and youth with nature-based experiences. You can learn more about Professor Stanger’s work on his website, www.nicholasstanger.ca.
Saul_Weisberg Saul Weisberg
Saul Weisberg is executive director and co-founder of North Cascades Institute. His primary responsibilities are to build organizational capacity and develop the human, financial, administrative and programmatic resources to achieve the Institute’s mission and strategic objectives. Saul’s work focuses on strategic planning, partnerships, board development and fundraising. Saul is the primary instructor for the graduate program’s Leadership and Nonprofit Administration track where students learn how nonprofit organizations are created, structured, managed and funded; the relationship between the mission and business of nonprofit organizations; how to balance financial sustainability while growing program quality and public support; how to develop your own leadership ability by demonstrating collaborative teamwork and behaviors needed to work with our audiences, staff, partners and funders; and to develop your leadership competencies in planning, implementation and assessment during professional summer leadership tracks. Saul serves on the board of directors of the Association of Nature Center Administrators and the Natural History Network. He continues to teach natural history and write about Northwest mountains, watersheds and wildlife. Saul lives in Bellingham where his passions include canoeing, bugs and walking in the mountains in the rain.

Learn more about Saul Weisberg in this interview with Clearing Magazine.
john_miles John Miles, Ph.D. (retired)
John Miles is the program adviser to the M.Ed. and has worked for 36 years in many capacities in the environmental education field. His principal interests are application of experiential learning in environmental education and environmental history. Author and editor of several books, he recently published Wilderness in National Parks: Playground or Preserve. An avid outdoorsman, he has traveled the North Cascades for 32 years with ice ax, telemark skis and backpack. More information about Professor John Miles can be found on his website.
North Cascades Institute Graduate M.Ed. Program Staff
Graduate Program CoordinatorWith experience directing a university outdoor program, building and maintaining campus farms within higher education institutions, teaching environmental education and campus sustainability, guiding trips, and researching and supporting sustainability leadership programs around the world, Lindsey brings a unique set of skills to the M.Ed. program.  After completing her M.S. in conservation ecology at the University of Michigan, she moved west in search of mountains and passion filled work. She’s thrilled to join the North Cascades Institute. If you don’t find her at the Learning Center, she’s probably cross-country skiing, playing in her garden, or cooking.  
Kevin_Biggs Kevin Biggs
Education Coordinator
Kevin has worked as an instructor and naturalist for the North Cascades Institute since 2008. Raised in Vermont, Kevin earned a degree in environmental studies from Warren Wilson College in western North Carolina before migrating to western Washington. He works closely with graduate students in programs as well as in exploring the natural history of the area. Kevin loves working with others as they develop as instructors throughout the professional residency at the Learning Center, and feels that he gains from everyone he works with. Whether coordinating a program or adventuring in the field, Kevin is committed to sharing the North Cascades with anyone he can.
Katie_Roloson Katie Roloson
Program Manager
Katie uses her diverse background and creative energy to support, develop and evaluate quality educational programs at the Environmental Learning Center, including Mountain School, Skagit Tour and Adult and Family programming.  Katie earned her M.Ed. in Environmental Education through the Institute's graduate residency program with Western Washington University and has a B.A. in philosophy, theology and psychology from King's College University. She has a background in fine arts, culinary arts, sports exercise and dietetics and has experience educating youth and adults in a variety of fields including art, gymnastics, fitness, culinary arts and environmental science. Katie teaches graduate natural history, journaling and curriculum classes, and serves as a graduate mentor and supervisor, guiding, supporting and giving feedback to graduates as they lead and work in Institute educational programming.
Additional North Cascades Institute Staff
Jeff_Giesen Jeff Giesen
Associate Director
Jeff leads program development for our stewardship and summer youth programs including North Cascades Stewards, North Cascades Wild, Parks Climate Challenge and the Kulshan Creek Neighborhood Program. Jeff has a Bachelor's degree in environmental education, a Master's Degree in Science and fifteen years of experience, including positions at residential centers in Ohio and Georgia.
Kristofer_Gilje Kristofer Gilje
Operations Director
Kristofer has been with North Cascades Institute since 2007. For the previous ten years, Kristofer served as operations manager for Holden Village, a remote Lutheran retreat center in the North Cascades. For more than twenty years before that he worked as a building contractor and carpenter in Bonners Ferry Idaho, Minnesota, and California. Kristofer blends 35 years of experience in construction, maintenance and risk management with a philosophy degree from the Paracollege at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. He teaches his specialty: Operations and Risk Management: Running a Remote Residential Center.
Jessica_Haag Jessica Haag
Marketing & Design Coordinator
Jessica designs print, online and marketing materials for NCI. She brings to the Institute over 10 years of marketing and design experience. Jessica's involvement with the graduate program includes teaching about the Institute's marketing system, reviews the elements of design (specifically logo design), big project development, photo and project archiving and how to work with a designer. Jessica is a Pennsylvania native, graduating from the University of Missouri with degrees in English and Graphic Design. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer on the island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia from 2000-2002.
Codi_Hamblin Codi Hamblin
Outreach Coordinator
Codi works to connect people with the North Cascades by promoting and sharing the Institute's work through various outreach avenues. She is also the primary scheduler for our Mountain School program. A passion for connecting people with the natural world originally brought Codi to North Cascades Institute as a graduate student where she lived, studied and taught Institute programs at the Environmental Learning Center. Prior to graduate school, Codi received her B.A. in Environmental Journalism at Huxley College and wrote for the weekly and daily Skagit County newspapers.
Chris_Kiser Christen Girard
Program Coordinator
Christen designs, develops, and coordinates a variety of the Institute residentially-based programs, including Mountain School and Skagit Tours. She provides instructional and supervisory support for these programs, focusing on best practices in teaching and learning for out-of-classroom education. Chris has a background in environmental sciences, place-based learning, and rural communities and livelihoods. She has traversed many western landscapes as a trail crew member, field biologist, farmer and farmer's market coordinator, before getting a Masters in Environmental Education through Western Washington University and the North Cascades Institute. Chris facilitates classes for the Graduate Teaching Practicum on foundations of Environmental Education, teaching theory, and curriculum development, as well as a range of Natural History topics from insect infestations to fire ecology and plant identification to nature journaling. She also works as a mentor and supervisor for graduate students during their year-long residency at the Environmental Learning Center and specifically as they teach Mountain School.
Christian_Martin Christian Martin
Communications Coordinator
Christian serves as the lead writer and editor for Institute print materials and online media, as the contact for media inquiries and organizes many of the Institute's public events. In the past, he has been the features editor for the Bellingham Weekly, an English instructor at Whatcom Community College and a field educator at Trailside Discovery Camp in Alaska. Christian's freelance writing work can be found in publications throughout the Pacific Northwest. Christian teaches graduate students about creating and managing online resources and print publications, outreach strategies, branding and voice, social media and other methods of connecting an organization's work with the public.
jason_rulveson Jason Ruvelson
Finance Director
Within the Leadership and Nonprofit Administration Course, Jason teaches Understanding Financial Statements and Budgeting & Strategy. Jason has diverse background experience including strategic planning, auditing, financial analysis, market research and developing business plans. He has received a M.B.A. from Western Washington University, a M.A. in Contemplative Psychotherapy from The Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado and a Bachelor of Arts in Transpersonal Ecology from Fairhaven College.


Joshua Porter: Graduate Program Director

big_quotation_mark.pngIf you want to be a leader in Environmental Education, we designed this program with you in mind. I invite you to come visit the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center and see for yourself! You can also contact me at ncigrad@ncascades.org or (206) 526-2568 with any questions.Study-Joshua